First war, now coronavirus: no respite for Syria

Syria has been torn apart by war for nearly a decade. Now it faces a new threat. In early April 2020, the country had 19 registered cases of coronavirus.

If developments in other countries have revealed anything, it’s that this seemingly innocuous number can grow exponentially over the course of a few days.

LOUISE PASSOT
SOS Chrétiens d’Orient, Head of Mission in Syria
“Of these 19, two have died and two have recovered. That leaves 15 people sick with coronavirus in Syria today. The first case was discovered less than two weeks ago. Before the discovery of the first case, some measures were put into place by the government, such as tests at the country’s points of entry, and the isolation of suspected cases.”

Organizations like SOS Chrétiens d’Orient are working to bring aid to people in war-torn countries like Syria, which could find it especially difficult to respond to a full-blown pandemic.

LOUISE PASSOT
SOS Chrétiens d’Orient, Head of Mission in Syria
“If the virus spreads, it will be very difficult to combat. We don’t have enough medical supplies to treat numerous cases simultaneously in a country that has lived through eight years of war. This would be a second catastrophe for the Syrian people.”

Volunteers have teamed up with local churches to help in concrete ways. For example, groups of young people in different cities deliver groceries and other basic materials to people who might be unable to leave their homes because of the government-imposed lockdown.

LOUISE PASSOT

SOS Chrétiens d’Orient, Head of Mission in Syria

“I’ve seen that certain churches have been giving financial aid. We can’t stop helping those who currently don’t have an income because they’ve put their work on hold in order to respect the law. Some churches also help SOS Chrétiens d’Orient distribute meals. They distribute hygiene kits, masks and gloves to the elderly.”

SOS Chrétiens d’Orient hopes all Syrians, not just Christians, will continue to face this new challenge with the same faith and courage with which they have survived the past eight years of conflict.